Little Rock City Director Erma Hendrix Dies at 91

The community pillar served on the city's board of directors for more than 15 years.

Little Rock City Director Erma Hendrix

Little Rock’s city flag is flying at half-staff in honor of Erma Hendrix. The city director for Ward 1 “passed away peacefully at her home Wednesday evening,” Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said in a statement Thursday.

“I will always remember and be thankful for Director Hendrix’s passion for equity and justice and her love for serving the residents of Ward 1 for 15 years,” Scott said.

Hendrix first served on the Little Rock City Board of Directors from November 1993 to December 1994. She was serving her fourth term, after being reelected in 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018. To be the voice for residents of Little Rock was a highlight of her life’s work, Scott said. He recalls her saying, “I’m not here for myself, I’m here for the people.”

“She was a giant of a lady and one of our city’s pillars,” Scott said. “Director Hendrix was like a grandmother to me, one of only a few people in my life to step in and provide the type of support a loving grandmother would. I’ll miss our talks and the sage advice she always offered.”

In addition to her work as a city director, Hendrix also served as Community Development Block Grant chair for the city of Little Rock and as commissioner on the Arkansas Parole Board.

“Our prayers are with her family, and she will be greatly missed,” Arkansas Parole Board chairman John Felts said.

Hendrix was a graduate of Little Rock public schools and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Arkansas Baptist College and a Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Development from St. Louis University. She worked as a psychiatric nurse at Fort Roots Veterans Hospital and was administrator of the Anti-Poverty Program at the Metropolitan Housing Alliance.

A long-serving member of St. John Missionary Baptist Church, Hendrix was active in a variety of community organizations in Little Rock, including the National Council of Negro Women, and was a charter member of the Downtown Neighborhood Association, Martin Luther King Neighborhood Association and Martin Luther King Heritage Center. 

She was president of the Arkansas Conference of Branches of the NAACP and served as Arkansas Youth Director of the NAACP. Hendrix was the mother of six adult children.

Antoinette Grajeda
Antoinette Grajeda

Antoinette Grajeda is Editor-in-Chief of Arkansas Soul, the host of the Affirmative Action podcast and a Northwest Arkansas-based journalist. She has covered race, culture, politics, health, education and the arts in Arkansas for nearly 15 years.